Engineering, Freight Rail

Forward step for Eyre Peninsular mine & rail project

Prospective miner Iron Road has received a mining lease and development approval for its project to create Australia’s largest magnetite mine on the Eyre Peninsular.

Iron Road managing director Andrew Stocks saw the approval as an achievement born out of the intensive work put towards getting the project up and running.

“The mining lease and development authorisation received today are recognition of the detailed exploration work, feasibility studies and impact assessments undertaken by Iron Road over the past nine years and enable us to continue onto the next stage of our development journey,” Stocks said.

The $4.5 billion project — which is expected to create 2000 jobs during its construction, and further 700 jobs over the 25-year life-span of the mine — will also involve the construction of a new 145 kilometre rail link and deep-water port at Cape Hardy for the transport of magnetite and other export commodities from the region, including grain.

The project is considered by the government to be a significant step in its Magnetite Strategy aim of exporting 50 million tonnes a year by 2030, with mineral resources and energy minister Tom Koutsantonis calling the mine “an important milestone”.

“There are 14 billion tonnes of magnetite underground in South Australia and the state government is committed to developing this resource in order to boost exports, create jobs and drive economic activity in regional areas,” the minister said.

“If this project proceeds to production it won’t be a sugar hit to our economy, it will deliver 700 jobs over a 25-year mine life and will underpin the growth of a local industry with the capacity to supply an enormous global market.”

For the mine development to proceed it must meet the 127 conditions set by an assessment process that will consider the project’s environmental, social and economic impact on local residents and businesses.

“If Iron Road meet the conditions of their approval this project will create thousands of jobs and have a significant, lasting impact on our economy,” state premier Jay Weatherill said.

Andrew Stocks said Iron Road is still seeking to secure the remaining financing for the project by December 2017.

“Iron Road will continue its engagement work with all stakeholders, prepare its secondary approval applications and continue working with strategic partner China Railway Group towards reaching a final investment decision and achieving financial close.”